Chelsea's Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy
Chelsea's Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy Image Credit: AFP

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was among a group of Senegal players to test positive for the coronavirus at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Mendy, captain Kalidou Koulibaly and striker Famara Diedhiou returned positive results in mandatory testing for the Senegal squad 48 hours ahead of their opening game against Zimbabwe, the Senegal Football Federation said.

All three will be ruled out of Monday’s game unless subsequent testing proves they were false positives.

Senegal, who are one of the title favorites, already had three other players and six members of the team management test positive for the virus before the squad departed Dakar for Cameroon on Wednesday.

Mendy’s positive test raised concerns for Senegal’s star forward Sadio Mane, who flew to Dakar from Britain with Mendy on a chartered jet. Photographs showed the pair sitting close together on the flight without masks.

Many of the 24 teams preparing to play in the month-long African Cup of Nations have been affected by virus cases in their squads, although Zimbabwe announced on Sunday they had no positives in their mandatory tests.

The tournament starts later on Sunday in the Cameroon capital Yaounde with the host team playing Burkina Faso in the opening game. Ethiopia face Cape Verde in the day’s other game.

The African Cup was meant to be played in early 2021 but was postponed for a year because of the pandemic.